Andy Rubin, one of the founders of Android Inc. before Google purchased the company in 2005, is reportedly gearing up to return to smartphones with a new AI-based handset.
According to "people familiar with the matter" cited by Bloomberg, Rubin is nearly ready to announce a new company called Essential that will focus on making Ai-infused consumer devices, including a smartphone and other smart home products.
These latest reports appear to confirm a rumour from back in December 2015 that indicated Rubin wanted to get back into smartphones, having departed Google just over a year before. Fast-forward another year or so and it seems that Rubin's almost ready to deliver on his own AI-driven vision of the future.
Given Rubin's high-profile smartphone background, there's going to be a lot of expectations on Essential's first launch, if Bloomberg's report is accurate. The handset itself is said to offer a bezel-less display and is being aimed directly at taking on high-end Android devices and the iPhone.
At least one of the prototypes is described as housing a display larger than the 5.5-inch panel on the iPhone 7 Plus, but fitting it into an overall smaller chassis that's a combination of metal and ceramic.
There could also be a proprietary magnetic connector that allows accessories to attach to the phone, a little like the modular system of the Moto Z range, according to the leaked information.
With such a crowded smartphone market, it's hard to think that Rubin would establish yet another new entrant that doesn't differentiate itself significantly in some way. We'll need to wait for an official announcement to find out for sure though.